Thursday, April 28, 2011

"There"

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 958)
Psalms 146, 147 (morning)        148, 149 (evening)
Ezekiel 37:1-14
Acts 3:11-26
John 15:12-27

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends."

Two core principles of the Jesus story -- 1. it's all about love; 2. death opens the door to life.

One might make the same point about organic life.  Life is sustained by reproduction, which, raised to its highest forms, is an expression of love -- the love that unites to create new life; the love that nurtures and sustains life.  And for any life to live, something must die.  The food chain and the chain of being are deeply entwined.

Our spiritual traditions tell us that our deepest, truest life begins in death.  Baptism is our incorporation into the Body of Christ.  Baptism is a ritual death and rebirth by drowning and being raised from the depths.  An old identity is stripped away and a new identity is given.  The breath of the Holy Spirit breathes us into new life.

Every day we are invited to die to a self-centered, self-powered way of life and to surrender to the wisdom and love of God directing us by the winds of the Spirit.  We are told to surrender self-control and to trust God to give us our direction and calling.  We are to let love be our guide -- to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  To love one another as Christ has loved us.  Such love is death to self-centered projects.

Maybe the greatest death is to quit making life into a project -- to die to making our selves, to quit turning our own life into a project.  The late Gerald May wrote this:
 
The fantasy is that if one heads in the right direction and just works hard enough and learns enough new things and grows enough and gets actualized, one will be there.  None of us is quite certain exactly where "there" is, but it obviously has something to do with resting.  As Joseph Conrad put it, 'What all men are really after is some form, or perhaps only some formula, of peace.' 

'There' has something to do with being able to stop all the existential struggling, and finally, just being able to let one's self be.  Just to be.  Fully and freely, unfettered and with wholeness.  To be able to relax and be all right.  To take a deep breath and lean back and sigh and
be and have it somehow be just fine.  To rest.  (from Simply Sane, p. 6)

To be.  In love.  Resting, in love.  Peace.  All it takes is a little death.  Just quitting all the "existential struggling," as Gerald May says.  Then we find we live in the very atmosphere of love, where everything is a gift.  You wake up in the morning -- your spouse is still here.  Amazing!  There is cereal in the pantry.  How marvelous!  Look at the water coming out of the faucet.  How lucky I am!

Lowell

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Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
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Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at missionstclare.com -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site www.ExploreFaith.org at this location -- http://explorefaith.org/prayer/fixed/index.html --  Click for Divine Hours

Discussion Blog:  To comment on today's reflection or readings, go to http://lowellsblog.blogspot.com, or click here for Lowell's blog find today's reading, click "comment" at the bottom of the reading, and post your thoughts.

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at www.stpaulsfay.org

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas

2 Comments:

At 7:57 PM, Blogger Janet said...

Resting in the infinite
Lots of space here

Your reflection is humorous and sweet - the sunshine made many of us giddy with joy today!

peace,
janet

 
At 7:25 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

Isn't it lovely to see and feel the sun again. How awful for those who have been hurt by the violent weather.

 

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